Publisher: Image Comics
Writer/Artist: Guillem March
Release Date: 11th May 2022
On the worst day of her life, Catalina meets Karmen, and together they embark on a journey of self discovery, reflection and redemption. Cata will have to go through heartbreak and despair before she can find purpose and joy in life again, but she has the cryptic and enigmatic Karmen to guide her.
This has been one of my most anticipated titles of the year, thanks in large part to a cracking marketing campaign by OK Comics in Leeds. This is a beautifully delivered story that is tragic, heartbreaking, heartwarming and uplifting all at the same time. It has moments of real sadness that will reduce you to tears and moments of levity that will have you laughing uncontrollably, sometimes on the same page.
A story about the afterlife, the physical and the metaphysical, and the consequences of our actions both in life and death, Karmen is a unique and dazzling book that is a thing of beauty both in terms of the writing and the artwork. While initially this may seem a familiar story, there are some really intriguing and twists and turns. Karmen is not your typical psychopomp, her job is to facilitate the transit of the newly dead to their predetermined judgement, but Karmen wants more out of life, and wants to try and change the fate of those in her care for the better, much to the annoyance of her colleagues and management. The writing is fantastic, and it’s a beautifully crafted story that, while very much self-contained and complete, left me itching for more adventures with Karmen.
Cata is the subject of Karmen’s interest in this tale, a victim of unrequited love and unresolved trust issues, Catalina has a lot to learn about how she treats those around her and that she may not be the victim she’d like the world to believe she is. I love the journey Cata takes, in this story, and for the most part Karmen let’s her make these discoveries on her own as she drifts essentially disconnected from a world that was never as cruel as she believed.
Apologies for continually abusing the word beautiful in this review, but the artwork is well, beautiful. It may at times be depicting dark, ugly, heartbreaking and/or soul destroying moments but it is always beautifully delivered. And don’t for a moment think this is a story that is entirely dark and depressing. There are some incredibly beautiful (there’s that word again) and uplifting moments in this story as well. Guillem March has done a superb job of the writing but the artwork is just something else. The detail, the clever and dynamic panel layouts, the emotions that he manages to infuse his characters with, it’s all stunning to look at, and March is an artist whose work I will certainly be seeking more of in the future.
There is so much more I’d really like to talk to you about regarding this title but it would certainly spoil the story for you. Suffice to say that, having just devoured this book, I’m already anxious to find out if there will be more chapters in Karmen’s pilgrimage, and I am eagerly awaiting the HC edition landing on my doorstep so I can physically hold the book while I read it again. This is a title that you absolutely should read, several times, and then nag Mister March ceaselessly abuot until he writes a new chapter.
[PREVIEW ARTWORK – CLICK TO ENLARGE]
The writer of this piece was: Mark Scott
Mark Tweets from @macoy_comicgeek